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Why Athletes Perform Better When They Sleep Cold

ChiliSleep Staff


A female athlete running in the cold

Whether you’re a novice or a pro athlete, taking the proper steps to recover after your workout is incredibly important. In fact, it’s arguably just as important as the workout itself. It is your body’s opportunity to rebuild and refuel so that your muscles continue to strengthen and grow.

Proper recovery can come in the form of a nutritious post-workout meal, stretching, resting or even temperature therapy. Now, you may be wondering why a company that’s focused on helping individuals find their perfect sleeping temperature is discussing the importance of athletic recovery.

First, it is important to understand that we do not just consider an athlete to be someone who is paid to play. Rather, we view an athlete as any individual who participates in physical exercise. Secondly, no matter how athletic you may be, everyone needs the proper amount of rest and recovery to be able to perform at their best. When you exercise, you are essentially breaking down your muscle tissue.

As you recover after your workout, your body works to repair your muscles on a cellular level, fusing your muscle fibers back together to form a stronger muscle. During your rest and recovery period, you’re also allowing your body to adapt to the stress it has endured during exercise. If you don’t recover properly, you are making yourself more susceptible to injury, putting your ability to strengthen your muscles at risk.

So, how should athletes recover after a workout? While there are a variety of techniques, one of particular importance relates quite literally to cooling down. Cryotherapy (“cold therapy”) is most commonly found in the form of ice baths, which are extremely popular among highly-active athletes.

Cold therapy is shown to be helpful due to the fact that it helps reduce swelling and tissue breakdown. According to Dr. David Terry, M.D., an ultrarunner, “Ice baths don't only suppress inflammation, but help to flush harmful metabolic debris out of your muscles”. Essentially, this means that cold therapy helps blood circulate throughout the body and moves harmful toxins like lactic acid from your muscles.

While it is not particularly necessary for the “average gym-goer” to utilize a technique like the ice bath on a regular basis, studies have shown that it can beneficial after a hard workout or for individuals that are training for something specific like sports or races.

Other athletes work to take this recovery method a step further, as aiding their athletic recovery doesn’t necessarily have to stop once they’ve gone to sleep. As we’ve previously discussed, there is an array of benefits when individuals sleep at cooler temperatures.

These facts don’t go unnoticed by athletes and their doctors, as even Olympians take extra measures to sleep at cooler temperatures. Your body temperature correlates with your circadian rhythm; if you’re in an environment where you can’t cool off, you will have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.

In general, athletes are found to have higher body temperatures, which can be related to difficulty falling asleep. While cooling the room can help, some doctors have suggested using Chili products as a way to get better rest and recovery - Cube was even recommended to Pirates reliever, Jared Hughes.

Not only can the cooling temperatures from Chili sleep systems help athletes recover as a bed cooling system, but they can also allow them to get a more restful night’s sleep. This will also aid in their overall recovery and performance, as sleep is vital to the body’s ability to heal, regenerate tissue and stay healthy. More recently, Chili teamed up with pro athlete, Andrew Gillman, who says that his Cube, “allows me to have a more restful and deep restorative sleep, giving me the best possible training and racing results as an elite triathlete racing 70.3 distance”. As an athlete, the ultimate goal is to grow and improve.

When training, workouts are designed to build a better athlete, and recovery methods should be treated with the same respect. Higher quality recovery methods lead to higher quality results.


About ChiliSleep Staff

ChiliSleep’s award-winning content team -- journalists, writers, and researchers -- report on a mix of innovative scientific studies, emerging sleep tech trends, and personal wellness topics.
Learn more about our ChiliSleep Team.